NEW YORK -- Adam Ottavino's 1.08 ERA in August has manager Jim Tracy more than excited about the right-hander's future role in Colorado's bullpen.
Ottavino has been lights-out as an extended reliever this month, and he entered Monday's series opener against the Mets having allowed just two earned runs over 16 2/3 innings -- spread over six appearances.
"If this guy can continue to gain the consistency with the strike-throwing capability that he has, with the repertoire that he has, he can help us shorten the game up dramatically," Tracy said.
That repertoire has gotten a lot more dangerous with the dramatic improvement of Ottavino's changeup, coupled with improved command of his fastball.
"If he can start to gravitate towards something like that, with a 96-mph fastball and a wipeout slider, now you have a pitch that's going to get hitters going back and forth," Tracy said. "If he forces people to start having to adjust to different speeds and continues to work on his fastball command, we've got ourselves a good pitcher on our hands -- a really good pitcher."
Tracy said Ottavino's recent resurgence -- his ERA stood at 4.99 on July 31 -- can also be credited to his improved comfort level and confidence as an extended reliever. And although he was drafted and signed as a starter by the Cardinals in 2006, Tracy said his future role with the team is starting to take hold.
"He's much improved because he's a more consistent strike-thrower early in the count, and he's also begun to experiment a little bit with a changeup," Tracy said.
"This guy is a terrific find for our organization, not only what he's done this year, but moving forward."
Feeling better, Young hoping to avoid disabled list
NEW YORK -- The Rockies' already depleted roster got another injury scare on Sunday when center fielder Eric Young was pulled in the first inning with a rib injury.
But Young -- who was diagnosed with a left intercostal muscle strain after striking out on a check swing against Miami's Josh Johnson on Sunday -- said he was feeling much less pain on Monday and that a stint on the disabled list was unlikely.
Manager Jim Tracy said the team will make an official decision on Tuesday as to whether Young will land on the disabled list, but took Young's improvement as a very good sign.
"He has a tendency to respond very quickly, and yet this situation with regard to this type of injury is one that doesn't cooperate for a player too well," Tracy said. "If he's still sore tomorrow, then we've got to figure some things out."
Tracy said his biggest concern regarding the injury was the diagnosis -- injuries surrounding the oblique have a tendency to linger and are susceptible to aggravation.
"We're milking this a little bit to see exactly where he's going to go, but it's safe to say that he's sore today and that we have some concern," Tracy said. "But we're going to give it another day and see what it progresses to, or if some of the soreness subsides and he's able to start moving around a little bit."
Any time Young will miss will be a big blow to the Rockies -- Young is hitting .406 in August (26-for-64) with 10 multihit games. Charlie Blackmon -- who was called up on Saturday to fill in for Carlos Gonzalez's stint on the bereavement list -- batted leadoff for the Rockies on Monday.
"You can't control something like this, so you just get it right and get ready to go again," Young said.
Shortstop Josh Rutledge is listed as day to day with left quad tightness. Tracy said Rutledge is available against the Mets, but will only be used in an "absolute emergency."
Gonzalez will rejoin the Rockies late Tuesday night and will likely play on Wednesday. Gonzalez was placed on the bereavement list on Saturday following the death of his grandfather.
Adam Rosenbloom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.